Keep Napanee Great reacts to OLT asphalt plant decision

Keep Napanee Great lawn signs have been a frequent sight for the last three years around the town of Greater Napanee. Submitted photo.

With the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) decision late last year allowing R.W. Tomlinson Ltd. to establish a permanent asphalt and concrete batching plant at its quarry property on the eastern edge of Napanee, many citizens of the Town were predictably disappointed, especially the members of Keep Napanee Great (KNG).

The December 22, 2023 ruling came at the end of a years-long campaign by members of Keep Napanee Great, a concerned citizens group who had opposed the asphalt plant due to concerns over the environment, quality of life, and property assessments. Both the president and vice-president of the group released social media statements reacting to the ruling.

Vice-President Vicki Stewart wrote, “We are naturally disappointed by the outcome, but our spirits are lifted by the overwhelming community support. Over the last few years, people from all walks of life have come forward to donate their time, money, resources, invaluable expertise and guidance, showcasing the true spirit of Napanee. These years have been a profound reflection on the unique qualities of our town and what makes it great. We remain hopeful and encouraged that this sense of unity, community and purpose will continue to grow and flourish.”

The group has worked since August 2020 to raise awareness in the town about the rezoning application for the property just east of Napanee on County Road 2. As stated on the KNG website, “We encourage the growth of the industry in our Town but are gravely concerned about the proximity of the plant to our downtown and residential buildings. The proposed location is located within 300 meters of current residential properties, 750 meters to the upcoming (2023) Stone Ridge Condos, 900 meters to Napanee River, 1.1 kilometres to Spring Side Park, 900 meters to The Royal Coachman, 1.25 kilometres to the new Gibbard District, 1.3 kilometres to the intersection at Alma Avenue, 1.7 kilometres to Southview Public School, 1.8 kilometres from Rotary Park.”

Casey Wells is the president of KNG. His social media post to the group on January 9, 2024, stated, “While [the decision] wasn’t the news we hoped for, we want to assure you that our commitment to our cause remains unwavering.”

Reached by phone, Wells placed primary emphasis on his gratitude for all the continued support, saying, “It did go somewhere. We were able to bring forth people’s voices. We’re able to hire those experts to represent us. We had a great legal team, and a ton of people came forward to help and we can’t thank them enough.”

He stressed his appreciation for “everyone that signed the petition, everyone that donated items or participated in our sales and fundraising events… I know it’s [a] cliche, but what a great community we have.”

“And we’re not done,” Wells continued. “We are done with this OLT process, but we’re going to continue as a group, and we’re going to continue to be vigilant and focus on more environmental issues in our community.”

Wells and KNG have faced their detractors throughout their time opposing the asphalt plant. Several individuals have critiqued them calling them a “NIMBY” (not in my backyard) group in a derogatory way.

Asked about this, Wells said that he knew all along that there were going to be detractors because, in consultation with other concerned citizen groups, they were well warned. “I remember when we first met with the group opposed to the mega dump expansion [The Concerned Citizens Group of Tyendinaga and Environs], that’s the first thing they’d say: ‘They’re gonna attack you with NIMBY.’ And within a day, it was one of the first things posted on social media against us.”

“You know, I’ll take it,” Wells mused. “If caring for the community makes me a ‘NIMBY,’ then that’s what I am.”

From this point forward, Wells said, “KNG will concentrate on alternative strategies to protect our community against any adverse effects stemming from the permanent hot mix asphalt plant’s operation. Our focus will now be on monitoring the plant to ensure it doesn’t create nuisances such as noise, dust, or odours. We remain committed to promptly addressing any emerging issues and will persistently seek all possible means to safeguard our community’s well-being.”

One thought on “Keep Napanee Great reacts to OLT asphalt plant decision

  • During the 10 day hearing, every single claim that was ever made by this group was debunked by the expert witnesses who testified. The group’s own experts failed on every count to prove their alarmist claims. Their campaign has cost the taxpayers of Greater Napanee a LOT of money and it was all for naught. Every right-thinking resident of our beautiful Town should be outraged that this has happened. To add insult to injury, the Group (many of whose members own expensive homes on Palace Road) were able to get funding for their legal costs from Legal Aid Ontario. Meanwhile, poverty stricken parents are unable to get legal aid for their family court proceedings even when custody of young children is on the line. They set up a GoFundMe to raise $10,000 to help fund their cause. Despite the repeated alarmist claims by owners of expensive homes they made only 18 small donations totalling $2,408. Make no mistake. This was a classic NIMBY protest and, like most NIMBY protests, it was characterized by self-interest and phoney environmentalism.

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!